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Swedish MPs at risk of corruption: report

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Swedish MPs at risk of corruption: report
The Riksdag needs to be more active in reducing the risk of corruption: File photos: Riksdag; Emile Friske
07:17 CET+01:00
Sweden's MPs should be forced to abide by a code of conduct to help reduce the risk of corruption, urges a new report that also raps the Riksdag for lax rules about gifts to elected officials.

On Tuesday, the Council of Europe's Group of States Against Corruption (Greco), releases a new report that argues the Riksdag needs to be more proactive in efforts to prevent corruption.

While Greco believes Sweden is generally one of the world's least corrupt countries, the body believes a code of conduct for MPs would be an important step to ensure elected officials don't engage in practices that could lead to accusations of conflict of interest.

Swedish politicians tend to only react when problems are highlighted in media reports, rather than working proactively to prevent corruption, the report found.

Last week, officials at the Riksdag got a sneak peek at the Greco recommendations and were quick to announce the formation of a working group charged with developing a code of conduct.

"Openness and clarity are important issues for the Riksdag," Speaker of the Riksdag Per Westerberg said in a statement.

"We therefore welcome the recommendations from the Council of Europe's anti-corruption body and see it as a chance for all the parties to come together to discuss how we can be more transparent."

Greco also wants to see more clarity in rules outlining what constitutes a conflict of interest, adding that MPs should be required to reveal potential conflicts of interest ahead of important decisions.

The anti-corruption body's evaluators also expressed their concerns that MPs can easily be influenced by potential employment offers they may receive after they leave parliament.

Currently, there are no restrictions on what sort of job a former MP can take or how quickly one can assume a new post.

Greco also recommends that the Riksdag expand the registry of MPs financial assets to also include the economic interests of family members.

More clarity about rules for gift giving to sitting parliamentarians is also needed. While the Riksdag has put forward proposed rules about registering gifts to MPs, no decision to implement such practices has taken place,

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